Tuesday, July 8, 2014

3 Ways to Play with Shells

Last week we had the chance to get away to the seacoast for an overnight. We all loved being on the beach, both for an evening picnic and a morning playing in the waves.

But our two small trips definitely didn't feel like enough time there. Everyone was rather bummed to return home.

So we decided to try and recreate some of the ocean fun here at home. Last weekend we started exploring some ocean fun and we've decided to extend it into this week too.

Our first three activities have all been sensory play based around shells!

Our shells actually come from several different collections, and not from this current trip. Most of them were recently given to us by my grandmother who had been saving them for her own craft projects and decided to share with us.

Ocean Playdough & Shells
It was time for a new batch of playdough so this was our first play exploration. We used a basic cooked playdough recipe and added three colors of food coloring (sky blue, green, and blue) while we cooked it. Afterwards we added in a huge heaping of white glitter and clear sequins. We ended with a cool, mediterranean sea color!

The set up included the new playdough, a handful of shells, and small marbles (as we lacked sea glass.) Big Brother played with it in several different ways. In this round of playing he decided he was building mermaid houses and villages.

Little Brother is still in the early stages of playdough play and still can't be trusted with too many small things like marbles and small seashells, he loves to put them in his mouth, so he got a small ball of playdough and some large shells. He enjoyed the play, although he doesn't stick with as long as Big Brother. 

Beach in a Box
Later in the week we continued our sensory shell play as we used Moon Sand and Shells for another play exploration. Moldable, sparkly moon sand made us feel just like we had created a Beach in a Box!

The kids helped create this batch of moon sand, the recipe is based on one from The Imagination Tree, although we usually double it to fill our box. 

As soon as we mixed in the shells it started to feel like the beach. The kiddos instantly started creating sand castles and decorating them. We added in a few small sand molds and we found that they worked too (although not if you packed the sand in too tightly.) 

What a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon at home, far away from the beach!

Shells on Mirror
The final activity involved using shells on a plexiglass mirror. We've done this as a quiet time activity before. It creates cool images, a way to explore symmetry, and can involve patterning. 

Big Brother enjoyed creating different reflections by holding the shells at different angles. He also started referencing our Eyewitness Shells book with some of the shells in the set. 

We're looking forward to creating some more ocean fun at home this week! 

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